The following article comes out of an email exchange that is certainly worthy of broader exposure. Written by Mark Shreffler we believe it may well echo the feelings of many.
I actually had a cog on why it was easier for me than most to leave the church. I always considered myself a Scientologist – and still do for that matter. I practice it all the time as I live and breathe. It’s not a belief system or a set of now-I’m-supposed-to’s. It’s a library of extremely useful information tethered to a purpose I’ve had since long before I discovered the Dianetics book. I never considered people who were not Scientologists as “lesser beings,” and always thought that “wog” meant apathetic people who have given up – as with the current membership of the church. I always thought of this field as one that would assist me to discover what I was already trying to discover, and have always found it to fill the bill. I never gave a rat’s damn if anyone else agreed.
The nature of sects and cults is that they involve groups of people with similar belief systems. Scientology is more akin to a library for me. It’s not a belief system but an orderly set of axioms that invite personal inspection and understanding. The most fundamental precept of Scientology is that if it is not true for you according to your own observation, then it’s not true. It matters not whether or not Ron said it is so. This is the antithesis of a cult or a sect.
But any group has the bank in common, and any group that allows it seniority can be termed a cult of that particular set of dramatizations.
The church was, for a time, a gathering place for people who held the same purposes that I did, and for whom the technology provided a means to accomplish these. But Scientology is not the church, and it is not the group that claims they are “Scientologists” in the same way the Fans of the Chicago Bears think all other teams are opponents to be reviled. When I discovered that the church was no longer run by Scientologists and no longer shared the purpose for which it was developed, it was as easy to drop as a bad habit.
I never felt any sense of betrayal or upset because I never agreed that Scientology was other than what it is for me, according to my own observation. And so it remains. The jam in the jar is still jam, regardless of whether it says “pickles” on the label. My issues were more involved with the lack of alertness I demonstrated by hanging around so long with things that didn’t make sense, thinking that it would all come right in the end.
I signed on to a task, not to a group, and those who shared the task (and continue to share it) are each doing so because they have seen for themselves that it is a game worth playing. This group does not describe by any definition a cult or a sect, as it is a band of individuals who share a common purpose. Greenpeace. Amnesty International. The Thrive movement. All of the same fabric.
The church and those who adhere to it have become, by every definition, a cult.
The logical and practical concern you voice about being positioned as a Scientologist results from an unfortunate A=A on the part of those who themselves belong to the cult of “being normal” which is prevalent on this planet. Scientology has lost it’s safe point because of actions taken by people who pretend to be Scientologists but who betray its most essential fundamentals. But this has nothing to do with Scientology. Rather, it has to do with the very things Scientology was developed to resolve.
There’s my two cent’s worth!